Shopping for Spark Plugs With NAPA
Automotive ignition and engine work are some of the most straight-forward DIY projects that at-home mechanics have performed for decades. At NAPA, not only do we want to guide you on which replacement spark plugs to purchase, but also educate drivers on how they function and the process for how to replace spark plugs.
Your vehicle’s ignition system routes high-voltage current from the ignition coils to the spark plugs in a synchronized firing order. The timing is critical to optimize the power created from the explosion or spark. Spark plugs use precisely crafted ceramic insular bodies and punched steel casings, which house two electrodes with a gap in between them. When voltage is sent to the plug, an electrical arc is formed between the two electrodes, thus igniting the fuel/air mixture.
Spark plugs determine the power output, fuel economy and even engine temperature of your automobile. Signs that it is time for spark plug and coil replacement include jittery or rough idling, power surges from the engine, diminished acceleration and decreased gas mileage. Remember that spark plugs are not designed to last the lifetime of a vehicle. Built-up deposits and natural widening of the electrode gap can cause spark plugs to fail as time passes, so replacing spark plugs is a routine part of vehicle maintenance. Note: It is always best to replace all the spark plugs at the same time.
NAPA experts recommend installing replacement spark plugs every 30,000 miles on older models, which matches most manufacturer recommendations. With a modern vehicle, you only need to change spark plugs every 100,000 miles thanks to advances in materials and ignition design. Replacing spark plugs will take roughly an hour if your vehicle has a four-cylinder engine. Spark plug replacement takes longer for vehicles with a V6 or V8 engine. A standard vehicle typically has the same number of spark plugs as the number of cylinders. So, a V6 would need six replacement spark plugs. There are exceptions like Chrysler V8s, which use two plugs per cylinder.
At the heart of each spark plug is an electrode that connects to the vehicle’s ignition coil via a thick wire. Spark plugs installed by car manufacturers often contain copper, nickel or chromium core electrodes. The metal mentioned in the replacement part’s name indicates the material used to construct its electrode, which gives you an idea of the different types of spark plugs in most retail aftermarkets. You can also find high-performance spark plugs composed of rare, powerful metals like ones with fine-wire iridium centers and double platinum ground electrodes. Glow plugs are typically used for heavy-duty diesel applications.
So, are you wondering what type of spark plug is best for your car? Autolite Copper Spark Plugs are ideal replacements for older model vehicles. These copper spark plugs are applicable to a wide range of makes/models and are guaranteed to deliver quick starts, good fuel efficiency and smooth acceleration. Although, for commuter vehicles that aren’t classics, some of the best types of spark plugs come from ACDelco’s line of premium aftermarket plugs. This product line includes reliable conventional spark plugs, specialized marine spark plugs and RAPIDFIRE Single Platinum Performance Spark Plugs. Our experts highly recommend spark plugs from the top-tier levels: ACDelco Silver (Advantage) and ACDelco Gold (Professional).
One of the reasons to go with a premium spark plug is that their platinum construction provides better performance and more durability when compared to copper. For example, platinum spark plugs are typically good for up to 100,000 miles of service. These plugs are engineered to generate more heat, which means they can operate in hotter environments. Due to the minimizing of carbon deposit build up, platinum plugs give a better spark for a longer period of time. For an ideal upgrade, go with the Autolite Platinum Spark Plug, which delivers optimal engine performance and fuel efficiency. This Autolite spark plug is specifically designed for Ford pickups and SUVs, such as the Ford Expedition and Lincoln Navigator.
Because iridium conducts energy better (an iridium electrode’s durability is six times harder than platinum), it’s the optimal choice if you want to get the most out of a performance engine. Iridium spark plugs are engineered to offer excellent engine idling stability and a smooth performance, which is critical in newer vehicles that use electronic distributor-based ignition systems. NGK Spark Plugs manufactures replacement parts for virtually every automotive, motorcycle, marine and small engine application. NGK Iridium IX spark plugs are specifically designed for the performance enthusiast, because they provide outstanding acceleration and high fuel efficiency.
Get Started With NAPA
Are you looking for where to buy spark plugs and spark plug wires? NAPA Auto Parts stores and NAPAonline.com are proud to offer thousands of spark plugs and ignition components for sedans, pickups, minivans, SUVs and more. Make sure to select the ones specifically engineered for your vehicle’s make and model. Plus, take advantage of our convenient Buy Online, Pickup in Store option.
If you are concerned about how much spark plugs cost, we have some good news! The cost of spark plugs ranges as low as less than $2 per spark plug to more than $100 dollars for spark plugs used in industrial or racing vehicles. You can purchase a long-lasting, high-quality, aftermarket replacement spark plug for less than $6 each.
Keep in mind, you need to remain patient while removing spark plugs and make sure to remove one spark plug at a time in the correct firing order. You must remove and replace each spark plug, along with any accompanying wires, before moving on to the next one in the chain. Most modern vehicles incorporate coil-on-plug technology, which don’t utilize external spark plug wires.
Finally, you must check to see if there are proper gap spaces on your new set of spark plugs to finish this installation. This technical auto repair requires using a spark plug socket with a swivel head, a spark plug wire puller and a spark plug gap gauge just to name a few specific tools. With that in mind, you are probably wondering how much it costs to get spark plugs changed by a professional mechanic. The average cost of spark plug replacement is $140 for a four-cylinder engine, $180 for a six-cylinder engine and $220 for an eight-cylinder engine. Schedule an appointment with your nearest NAPA Auto Care center today!
Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.
More than 90 years ago, the National Automotive Parts Association ("NAPA") was created to meet America’s growing need for an effective auto parts distribution system. Today, 91% of do-it-yourself customers recognize the NAPA brand name. We have over 6,000 NAPA Auto Parts Stores nationwide serving all 50 states with a unique inventory control system that helps you find the exact part that you need.